2021 WV POWER Summit: Moving from Incubation to Acceleration

Moving from Incubation to Acceleration: Building Sustainability from POWER Funds

The ultimate goal of the POWER Initiative is to advance innovative economy-building strategies that continue on even after the grant funding ends. West Virginia POWER grantees share about the lessons learned as they moved into the mid-point and close-out phases of their POWER projects; tips for project pivots and course changes; and how they have built long-term sustainability into their programs.

meet the presenters

Marjorie Cooke joined Advantage Valley in January 2019 in the role of Director of Marketing & Communications and is responsible for promoting the economic development activities of the regional organization that represents 9 West Virginia Counties. She supports business attraction, retention, and entrepreneurial growth efforts by coordinating FASTER WV entrepreneurship webinars, executing regional B2B supply chain events, and managing digital marketing and media relations for the organization. Prior to joining Advantage Valley, Marjorie worked in a variety of roles for various local non-profits including Charleston Renaissance, the YMCA, and the West Virginia Youth Symphony, which she managed for ten years. Marjorie finds great satisfaction in using her skills in program management, marketing and communication, fundraising, grant writing, event planning, and social media/digital marketing to help build a stronger economy in West Virginia. She resides in Charleston with her husband and two golden retrievers. Her two children are presently in college.

ARC POWER Project: Fostering Advantages for Start Ups & Entrepreneurial Resurgence in WV (FASTER WV)

Project Resources:

Dr. Gene Coulson is the CEO of EntreEd, the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education. He has over 40 years in k-12 education and retired from the WV Department of Education as Executive Director of Career and Technical Innovation. He has headed EntreEd for almost 8 years. EntreEd is headquartered in Charleston and has received 2 POWER grants designed to integrate entrepreneurship education into K-12 schools in seven Appalachian states, partnering with 11 community colleges and regional education service agencies.

ARC POWER Project: Fostering Self ESTEAM in Appalachia’s Emerging Workforce

EntreEd Website

Joseph Howard is the CEO of the West Virginia Forest Products Cooperative. Joe founded the West Virginia Forest Products Cooperative with the desire to empower the community and region by providing education and jobs. His background in electrical and civil engineering paved the way for the renewal of a family tradition in woodworking and the future of WV hardwoods.

ARC POWER Project: WV Forest Products Cooperative

West Virginia Forest Products Center Website

Monica Miller, EDFP is President of M. Miller Development Services LLC, a woman owned business specializing in community economic development services for non-profit organizations, units of government, for-profit businesses and higher education institutions. Work includes regional and community planning and assessments, project management, facilitation, and coaching services. For over 20 years she managed multiple Community Development programs for the West Virginia Development Office most notably Main Street West Virginia, the Neighborhood Investment Tax Credit Program, and Appalachian Regional Commission. She is chair emerita of the Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, founding chair of the National Main Street Coordinating Programs Executive Committee, and she currently serves on the boards of Advantage Valley, a regional economic development agency, and the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Clients include WVU Bureau for Business and Economic Research, National Main Street Center, Philanthropy WV, WV Community Development Hub along with various communities and development organizations. Monica is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University if Oklahoma and is certified by the National Development Council as an Economic Development Finance Professional. 

Judy Moore has been the executive director of the WV Hive since November 2017. As the Hive executive director, Judy focuses on establishing partnerships and alliances that provide increased access to resources for businesses and entrepreneurs. She works with her team of business advisors, support network, and funders to bring about more effective and efficient means through which regional entrepreneurs can operate successful establishments. Before joining the WV Hive she was an Assistant Director at West Virginia University’s National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. Judy has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. Judy has also served as the Principal Investigator/Project Coordinator of numerous projects and grants and assisted in the development of numerous training and workshop materials, authored and co-authored many articles for industry newsletters and publications, and spoken at numerous conferences and workshops. Judy is also the managing director of the County Roads Angel Network (CRAN), administered by the NRGRDA through the Hive. The WV Hive was established through an ARC POWER grant and is currently a program partner of the ARC-funded Communities of Healing grant.

WV Hive Website

Country Roads Angel Network Website

Derek Scarbro serves the Marshall University Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (RCBI) as its Business Development Lead and Deputy Director. In this role, he manages several state and federal grants and works directly with manufacturers, colleges, and government agencies on economic and workforce development projects across the state and region. RCBI assists entrepreneurs, inventors, small businesses, and large corporations across all sectors with prototype development, customized training, reverse engineering, quality assurance, and contracting opportunities.  Fortunately, the projects and companies are so diverse that it is rarely a dull day. He has served in the public sphere his entire professional career. He’s worked in various West Virginia state government agencies, like the Governor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, the Development Office, and led statewide non-profit organizations. Derek’s childhood was spent in Kanawha County and he has his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in Political Science and International Affairs and is currently pursuing a master’s in leadership studies. His wife, Sara Payne, and daughter, Willa, live in Huntington. He enjoys skiing, camping, fishing, soccer, college football, and hiking.

ARC POWER Project: Appalachian Hatchery

Project Resources:

Systemic Change

2021 became a time period of catalytic potential as we saw years of investment into our core strategies to enact systemic change yield new results. Our strategic focus areas include policy, communications, and supporting the community economic development system in leveraging unique financing opportunities such as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative and Opportunity Zones.

In addition, through our strategic policy support role within the Abandoned Properties Coalition, The Hub successfully advanced two key objectives: the creation of a statewide land bank at the West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation and extension of the state’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 

Through the Opportunity Appalachia program, 6 catalytic community projects located in WV-based Opportunity Zones received $250,000 for pre-development technical assistance. Three projects received additional private funding as a result of program participation.

Cowen

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. Read their community case study.

Montgomery

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Smithers

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Kingwood

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Lewis County

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Meadow River Valley Region

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Watch their community documentary.

New Martinsville

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Parsons

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Elkins

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. 

A core team led by Woodlands Development Group also participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Community Coaching

In 2021, we accompanied 16 communities through our in-depth, professional coaching programs. In addition to leaning into coaching and financing opportunities offered through these programs, participating communities leveraged an additional $2.8 million in funding on their own for community economic development projects. While participating in our entry-level coaching program, Cultivate WV, Montgomery and Smithers realized momentum-building success through access to $40,000 in seed funding for projects like farmers markets, public art, wayfinding, community events, and development of a trail system.

Six communities, Lewis County, Kingwood, Meadow River Valley, Monticello neighborhood in Clarksburg, New Martinsville and Parsons, graduated the intermediate planning program Blueprint Communities* with strategic plans in place. We also launched a new round of HubCAP, our flagship community economic development program, in six towns located in the Monongahela National Forest region: Cowen, Franklin, White Sulphur Springs, Elkins, Marlinton, and Petersburg.

Franklin

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Marlinton

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Petersburg

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

White Sulphur Springs

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Charleston

A core team led by Crawford Holdings, LLC participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Huntington

Core teams led by Thundercloud, Inc. and the City of Huntington participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support community development projects located in Opportunity Zones.

Grafton

A core team led by Unleash Tygart, Inc participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Leadership Development

As hundreds of people began to engage in our virtual training activities in 2020, we saw a critical opportunity to scale and deepen our impact. This year, The Hub team developed an accessible, virtual platform with options for self-guided and group learning activities as well as professional coaching.

Kickstart Communities is now the crux of our efforts to bring new people into the work and grow their leadership. These activities now form the foundational stages of a Community Leadership Development Pipeline to move motivated residents from seeing the challenges in their communities to proactively collaborating to resolve them.

Message from our Executive Leadership Team

Fifteen years ago, stakeholders building up local communities and economies in West Virginia convened to map a coordinated strategy to systemically grow community economic development activity in the state. From the shared vision and collaborative leadership of dozens of strategic partners across the state, the WV Community Development Hub was born.

Since that time, The Hub has grown into the anchor community development organization serving West Virginia. We have built upon the original vision to create a method for rural, community-led development strategies that is uniquely tailored to the needs and opportunities of our state.

As we have grown and developed a proven model for success, our partnerships with community and economic development practitioners, funders, and committed West Virginia residents have been foundational to every element of our work.

Over the past two years, the team at The Hub has adapted to the unprecedented challenges our communities have faced during the pandemic by leaning into our core strengths to deepen our impact. The Hub remains committed to tackling persistent challenges, and we have focused our attention on the most impactful elements of our work.

We are supporting community leaders to advance their visions for local development, creating new pathways for engagement and leadership growth through our virtual training platform, and leading strategies that lift up voices of community leaders to move forward solutions to long-held challenges to growth.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that nothing about the future is set in stone. While the coming year may present enormous opportunities for advancement in our state, they will also inevitably require significant capacity building, shared strategies that are grounded in trust-based partnerships, and extended efforts to support the leadership development of individuals and organizations who have been asked to do more during a time of extreme stress and strain.

The services that anchor organizations like The Hub provide are even more critical in this time, and we expect our work to scale significantly in the coming years ahead.

We look forward to continuing to do the work of putting into action the vision and the shared strategies envisioned by that core group of community economic development practitioners and funders fifteen years ago.

In Continued Accompaniment,

– WV Community Development Hub
Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

Executive Director

Amanda Workman Scott

Director of Community Engagement

Emma Pepper

Director of Strategic Network Communications

Katie Loudin

Director of Strategic Development